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Appreciating winter is an art form, and it's one Collingwood intends to celebrate – CollingwoodToday



Though there won’t be the characteristic ice sculptures and family events downtown over Christmas, there will still be a celebration of the coldest season this year.

The town is starting a new event, called the Art of Winter, which will take place on the last weekend of January.

“We were inspired by two unique features of Collingwood – the arts community and the way Collingwood embraces winter activities,” said Karen Cubitt manager of culture and events for the Collingwood Parks, Recreation, and Culture Department.

In previous years, the town has partnered with the BIA for the Frozen in Time Festival, which is marked by signature ice sculptures downtown Collingwood, and several demonstrations by ice carvers.

According to Cubitt, the BIA took on the largest portion of the expenses, particularly the ice sculptures and used grant funding to cover it. This year the BIA did not receive the funding and so opted out of hosting the festival.

The town’s Parks, Recreation and Culture department still saw value in a winter event in Collingwood.

Cubitt said timing the event for the end of January makes it easier to secure entertainment, services, volunteers, and staff compared to the Frozen in Time festival, which took place over Christmas holidays.

The Art of Winter event will have a focus on participation and try-it-out opportunities.

“The schedule of events will take a how-to guide approach,” said Cubitt. “Collingwood residents know how to embrace winter, sometimes it just takes a gentle reminder.”

At a meeting earlier this week, council passed the 2020 budget, and included an extra $10,000 for the Art of Winter event. Cubitt said that money would go toward the snow-carving components of the weekend.

The town will rent snow column making equipment, and will lean on the expertise of those who previously hosted Sarnia Snowfest for some snow carving events.

In addition to a hands-on lesson in the Collingwood art form of embracing winter, the festival will aim to promote health, well-being and social connection, a relationship between arts and culture with sports and recreation, and the year-round beauty and versatility of the Collingwood trails.

The Art of Winter event is family-friendly and will take place at Central Park and on Collingwood Trails from January 24 to 26, 2020. There will be daytime and nighttime events including professional snow carving, snowshoe treks, and moonlit skating.

For more on the new festival, visit

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Cape Breton woman's COVID-19 inspired public art show features face masks and personal sentiments –




Bailee Higgins hopes her public art project will help promote an important public health measure while connecting people in the community.

I Wear A Mask For Sydney Mines is a series of digital portraits of people who live or work in Sydney Mines wearing masks, which are designed to reflect their personalities. Included with each portrait is a comment from the subject about why they wear a face mask or a little about their experience during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s a project that’s meant to bring people together since we can’t get physically together,” said Higgins, who is in the art education program at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Halifax.

“And it’s a project that can encourage people to wear a face mask as a way to help protect everyone during the pandemic, which I think is an important message.”

“Mama says our masks make us superheroes.” #iwearamaskforsydneymines, digital portrait by Bailee Higgins. CONTRIBUTED


Created for a public art class Higgins is taking at NSCAD University, the Sydney Mines native received a Rising Youth grant so she could continue the project until March 1.

During the last week of February, she is planning a virtual livestreaming show of all the portraits she’s completed to this point. But the artist, who has a bachelor of fine arts degree from Mount Allison University in Sackville, N.B., plans to continue doing portraits until the end of the pandemic.

“I want to get as many people as possible involved so we can get as many people’s experiences included,” she said.


One participant who is a COVID-19 survivor living off-island wrote a statement that Higgins calls “powerful.”

In it, the woman said her health will never be the same again and that she wants to live in a world where people care about protecting people around them.

“Our cases have been pretty low here. So hearing from someone who has had it and is still suffering from the lasting effects is really powerful,” Higgins said.

“I am from Sydney Mines and am home all the time to see my family. We will retire and come home. I work in health care. I am a COVID survivor ..." #iwearamaskforsydneymines series by artist Bailee Higgins. CONTRIBUTED
“I am from Sydney Mines and am home all the time to see my family. We will retire and come home. I work in health care. I am a COVID survivor …” #iwearamaskforsydneymines series by artist Bailee Higgins. CONTRIBUTED


Alex Cormier saw Higgins’s Facebook post looking for subjects for the I Wear A Mask series and the mother of two said she wanted to participate in the project because protecting others is a message that hits close to home.

“It’s affected our family directly, the COVID pandemic. My mother had COVID and now she suffers long-term effects from COVID. Her lungs are permanently damaged,” Cormier said about her decision to be a model in the series.

“If by helping promote the message that face masks work, if we can protect anyone else’s mother or grandmother or father or someone else in the community by wearing masks, then we should do what we can to get that message across.”

“... As a community pharmacist, I have been involved in front line primary care, doing our best as a team to keep our staff and patients safe.” #iwearamaskforsydneymines digital portrait series by artist Bailee Higgins. CONTRIBUTED
“… As a community pharmacist, I have been involved in front line primary care, doing our best as a team to keep our staff and patients safe.” #iwearamaskforsydneymines digital portrait series by artist Bailee Higgins. CONTRIBUTED


Each digital portrait takes about an hour and a half to complete and is done on an iPad with a special pen which allows the artist to draw right on the screen.

To date, Higgins has completed 40 portraits and hopes to finish at least 100 by the time the pandemic is over.

Anyone interested in being a model in the I Wear A Mask For Sydney Mines series can contact Higgins by email at [email protected], through Facebook messenger on the project page or by phone at 902-578-9444.

Nicole Sullivan is an education, enterprise and diversity reporter for the Cape Breton Post. 


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ARTS AROUND: Rollin Art Centre to re-open February 2 – Alberni Valley News





The Rollin Art Centre is currently closed, but will re-open Feb. 2 with an exhibit featuring some pieces from its permanent collection.

In 1995, Robert Aller donated many works of art—including four of his own paintings—to the Community Arts Council. This collection began while he was enrolled at the Vancouver School of Art in 1946. Beginning Feb. 2, part of his collection will be on display for everyone to enjoy.

Don’t miss this opportunity to view the work of some of the most brilliant artists in Canadian history.


For $20 you will receive 10 books in one bag, all in the same genre!

By purchasing a bag of books, you will also be helping Rollin Art Centre during this difficult time. Choose from mysteries, fiction, fantasy, romance, cooking, home improvements, travel, cooking, pre-teen chapter books (e.g. Nancy Drew), children’s books and even puzzles ($2 each). Your support for Rollin Art Centre is greatly needed and much appreciated.


The Community Arts Council is designing a new Alberni Valley artist and studio guide. If you are interested in being included in this brochure/guide, please call the Rollin Art Centre at 250-724-3412 for more information.

The guide will include local artists, and a map. Five thousand guides will be printed and distributed to the tourist information centre and local hot spots.

The extended deadline is Feb. 27, 2021.


This year’s community painting days at the Glenwood Center have been cancelled. Instead, there will be “Paint a Banner at Home” program. Please email the club at to express interest.

Melissa Martin is the Arts Administrator for the Community Arts Council, at the Rollin Art Centre and writes for the Alberni Valley News. Call 250-724-3412. Email:

Artart exhibit

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Help with Art Grant aAplications! – northeastNOW



Main Line: 306-752-2587
Toll Free: 1-800-668-2587
Newsroom: 306-752-6397
Toll Free: 1-800-480-6397

We strive to achieve the highest ethical standards in all that we do. Our newsroom abides by the RTNDA Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct and follows the Canadian Press Stylebook.


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